Home Environment Lake restoration project to use LiDAR to map private forest roads

Lake restoration project to use LiDAR to map private forest roads

Lake_Champlain_DuskCanada: Enosburgh ­ Franklin County has long been the focus of water quality issues related to Lake Champlain. Cold Hollow to Canada has received an Ecosystem Restoration Grant from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation to use light detection and ranging data to identify and map forest roads, trails and log landing in private forests in Vermont.

The goal of the project is to use the light detection and ranging data, otherwise known as LiDAR data, to look at potential sources of sediment coming off of forest roads and into surface waters. This project will add to the State’s knowledge about water quality in the region and support Cold Hollow to Canada’s mission to protect and enhance core wildlife habitat in the Northern Green Mountains.

Cold Hollow to Canada has teamed up with UVM and Bear Creek Environmental to analyze access roads for forest operations across Franklin County using advanced LiDAR technology.“The forestry community and private forest landowners take the issue of water quality very seriously,” says Nancy Patch, CHC board member and Franklin/Grand Isle County Forester. “If forest management activities are contributing to the phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain we want to know about it.” The Enosburgh Woodlots group landowners have agreed to allow the team to access their lands for ground truthing the remote analysis. Learning how to identify potential erosion sources using information technology will assist landowners in efficiently getting those problems fixed.

At this time there is little to no information about the quality of private forest roads in Vermont, and yet roads are a proven source of runoff from the landscape. Gary Sabourin with the Vermont Department of Forests Parks and Recreation says, “We’re hoping the LiDAR will allow us to better focus on places where there are a higher density of forest roads. The ground truthing will then inform us about what we’re seeing in the LiDAR mapping, showing us first hand whether the road is in good shape or poor shape.”

With the Missisquoi River being labeled as a challenge watershed and the EPA calling for a 60% reduction in phosphorus from forested lands in the Missisquoi River basin, this project has the potential to identify and then mitigate impacts from private forested roads. Mapping work using the existing LiDAR data is ongoing with field testing taking place the summers of 2016 and 2017.

Source: VtDigger